The Google Thunderbird address book: staying in sync

Configuring sync with Google is easy.  Select an addressbook to sync with Google, and choose:

  • Personal Address Book if you want contacts auto-added by Thunderbird to appear in Google.  You’ll have one set of contacts.
  • zindus/ if you want to manage your Google contacts separately from other contacts.

When you first sync an addressbook, you may encounter Google’s rules for contacts:

  • an email address can only appear in one contact
  • no empty contacts

These rules are enforced in Gmail’s contact interface and to sync with Google, your Thunderbird addressbook must comply with them too.

Early versions of the Zindus addon took a “hands off” approach to rule violations by simply reporting them.

The addon now displays a summary of Google rule violations:

Google Contact rule violation example

In this example, three contacts reference the same email address.  “bloggs,fred” is selected because it is the contact with data in the most fields.

‘Confirm’ preserves the selected contact and deletes the other two.

‘Skip’ leaves the contacts unchanged.  You make the necessary edits using the Thunderbird addressbook.

Select ‘don’t ask’ if you want the addon to fix subsequent rule violations without asking:

  • if several contacts reference an email address, the addon preserves the ‘best’ one and deletes the rest
  • if contacts are ‘empty’ (meaning there is no data in any fields that map to Google) then they are deleted.

The ‘don’t ask’ feature is turned off by default.  Rule violations are mostly fixed on the first sync and never encountered again.  But a few users find themselves bumping into rule violations on an ongoing basis, possibly because of Thunderbird bugs or Google glitches.  For these folks, the ‘don’t ask’ preference allows safety to be traded off against conveniece.


As a nod to safety, unsynced contacts “deleted” when fixing Google rule violations are actually moved into a addon-managed addressbook named zindus/ToBeDeleted. This feature is a poor-man’s workaround to the absence of a “Trash for contacts” feature in Thunderbird or Google.  zindus/ToBeDeleted is emptied frequently and its purpose is to assist with recovery of “oops, I chose the wrong contact” mistakes.  Note that any Google contacts in this addressbook will only contain those fields that map to Thunderbird.


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105 Responses to “The Google Thunderbird address book: staying in sync”

  1. Lukas Zapletal Says:

    WOW! Great, thanks!

  2. Mark Bick Says:

    This is a very smooth add-on and works great for me. Thanks for taking the time to produce a well crafted add-on.

  3. Lee Bazalgette Says:


    Thanks for this great plug in!

    I’m trying to use Zindus to co-ordniate an address-book between OSx and Win Xp using a Google account and Thunderbird. The only problem currently is that it looses first-name and last-name data between the machines, which means if I try and export to back up to Mac address book I loose the names of the people!

    Is there a fix for this?

    Thanks again,

  4. rvjc Says:

    Excellent add-on!! The autosync capability is currently bi-directional which is a bit dangerous for my application. I just deleted ALL my Gmail contacts when I cleared my thunderbird address book AFTER sync had been established…oops!

    It would be nice to have a configuration setting to enable uni-directional syncing only i.e. from Gmail contacts to PAB but NOT vice versa. Most Gmail users now prefer to use Google’s web interface but it’s nice to have a minimal traditional mail client configured to send mail e.g. when the user right clicks a file and clicks “Send to”->”Mail Recipient”. The only problem with that solution up to now was that Gmail contacts were not available in the mail client address book…but that is now solved by Zindus…subject to the above feature request.

    Keep up the good work!

  5. leni Says:


    Currently if you want to use Google to sync two thunderbird addressbooks, only the fields that are common to both thunderbird and google are synced.

    A fully sync is certainly something that folk want. One thought is to use Google’s ExtendedProperties feature to store the full set of Thunderbird fields.

    A problem with ExtendedProperties is that Google limits the number ExtendedProperties a contact can have. This means that the feature isn’t guaranteed to be available to the addon, so it might work for some users, maybe even most, but not all. It’s even possible that for any given user, it’d work for some contacts but not others. And even a small percentage of problems generates a lot of support email!

    This isn’t to minimise the issue - we’re just not satisified that ExtendedProperties is the right approach.


    I’ll file a feature request to support one-way sync. If/when this gets implemented it really should support:
    one way tb ==> google and
    one-way google ==> tb

    Like most other feature requests, if there’s enough interest, it’ll get put on the roadmap.

  6. BN Bender Says:

    At first, I didn’t think it worked. Then I restarted my Google and all my contacts showed up. Der! Wonderful. Very easy to use.

  7. Tommy Says:

    I think this is a great plugin, and plan to recommend it on my blog. One feature request: would it be possible to do one way syncs? I never edit info in Google Contacts, only in Thunderbird, and it would help me sleep better at night knowing that my Thunderbird data would not be touched.

  8. leni Says:

    Hi Tommy, +1 noted for you on one-way sync. It’s now one of the feature request candidates.

  9. MNH Says:

    Hah…….removed all my gmail contact when I accidently remove all contact in thunderbird addressbook. Accidents happens. Would be nice to have a confirmation or a basic security regarding removing contact from other than the gmail webmail access.

    Great plugin. My usage senario :

    1. One gmail account for the school
    2. One gmail account for each teacher

    All teachers sync to school’s contact list.

    Works like charm. Thank you.

  10. Ben Says:

    Has anyone else been experiencing an unresponsive script error?

    I looked in my error console and it shows: Error: [Exception... "'Failure' when calling method: [gIMsgFolder::GetMessageHeader]” nsresult: “0×80004005 (NS_ERROR_FAILURE)” location: “” data: no]

    Anyone know about this?

  11. leni Says:

    Ben: Which version are you using? The unresponsive script message sometimes occurred with large (5000+ contact) addressbooks in versions 0.8.4 and earlier. This should have been fixed in 0.8.5. The message you see in the error console is a Thunderbird error, unrelated to the addon.

    If you’re on 0.8.5 and getting an “unresponsive script” dialog box, you can click OK and the addon will keep syncing. To help identify exactly which part of the addon is causing the problem, it’d be helpful if you filed a bug report.

  12. Ben Says:

    Thank you. TB had not advised me of a new version. My address book has 3000+ contacts. I’ll download and try 0.8.5. Many thanks.

  13. Ben Says:

    I did try 0.8.5, and it worked! Thank you. I don’t know how you can get the Mozilla site to advise Thunderbird that an upgrade is available, but I think this is a critical upgrade. Many thanks.


  14. Wayne Says:

    This Plugin is great it works for me exactly what I needed. I would like to request if it is possible to have it not only sync contacts but but also groups with in the contact list. Thank you


  15. Jose Casal Says:

    Nice Plugin!
    What’s the default frequency with which zindus/ToBeDeleted is emptied? Is it possible to change it?
    Thanks a lot!

  16. leni Says:

    Jose, see the preference:

    Each sync deletes from zindus/ToBeDeleted those cards that been there longer than this. If there’s no cards there, the addressbook is deleted too, and recreated when necessary.

  17. Joseph Says:

    I love the idea of a one-way sync from Google -> Thunderbird. My ideal scenario would be, while using Google Apps, to have one shared address book that gets modified by only a few people but syncs with every person’s Thunderbird address book.

    Looks like Google finally started allowing non-Google Apps accounts to be added to shared contact lists “Administrative management of non-employee contacts now available”

    Has anyone tried this with their Premier Google Apps accounts? How does it work with this Thunderbird plugin?

  18. Steve C Says:

    I access an IMAP email account from different computers. I want to synch the Thunderbird address books and collected addresses on the different computers for that one account. I do not want to synch those address books with any google email account. Can I do that?

  19. leni Says:

    @Joseph - the addon doesn’t use Google’s Shared Contacts API. Even though this is a feature that’d only be available to Google Premier Edition users, if it’s something that people want, feel free to ask!

    @SteveC - this is a common request. One option is if you are willing to run your own Zimbra server you could use that to sync addressbooks between your two Thunderbird instances.

  20. PVD Says:

    Zindus is working though I can only add contacts (with an email address) from my Gmail account down to Thunderbird. If I add a new contact in Thunderbird - it will not upload to Gmail. Any ideas?

  21. leni Says:

    Hi PVD, are you adding the contact to a Thunderbird mailing list? Mailing Lists and the contacts in them aren’t synced (yet).

    If you think you might be encountering a bug, feel free to file a bug report and include the email address of the Thunderbird contact that should be syncing but isn’t.

  22. PVD Says:

    I don’t have lists, just different address books. I made changes to the personal address book. I did however recycle my Google page and then the changes appeared so that problem has been resolved. Though I don’t like the fact that my addresses are not converting over. So I am trying out the gContactSync addon. This too is problematic for me to get them to sync. But I hope with Thunderbird 3 the two will work better. Sorry Zindus.

  23. GN Says:


    After the sync, the address book in Thunderbird is not showing the display name in the name field but showing the “name” before the @sign of the email id. How can this corrected.

    Also what happens if the contact has more than one email id?

  24. leni Says:

    @GN: if a thunderbird contact doesn’t have a display name the Thunderbird AddressBook UI shows the part of the email address to the left of the ‘@’ sign. This is just how the Thunderbird AddressBook UI works and is unrelated to sync. You can experiment with this yourself by creating a Thunderbird contact with no Display Name. As far as sync goes, if the contact on the remote server has a Display Name it’ll match the Display Name of the corresponding Thunderbird contact.

    > Also what happens if the contact has more than one email id?

    See the FAQ on Google contact conversion or Zimbra contact conversion. In Summary: Thunderbird primary and secondary email addresses are synced with the first and second email addresses on the remote server.

  25. GN Says:

    Hi Leni

    Thanks for the quick reply but all my contacts have display names since my google contacts are in sync with my Nokia phone. Ok, I rechecked and changed the view in the TB to show name as Display name and is now ok, since earlier it was set to show name as First,Last.

    Multiple emails are present as mentioned by you, however google and nokia allow multiple entries in number fields e.g I have multiple mobile nos against a contact but zindus seem to select only one no per field. This is essential and need to be fixed. These fields show multiple entries with a comma separating them in TB address book and this is unlimited no. For one contact I have around 20 mobile phones and all show up in google contacts, my phone and TB (synced in a different way) but not by Zindus

  26. leni Says:

    @GN Currently TB only supports one mobile phone number field. The addon syncs the first remote mobile phone number with that field.

    There is a TB feature request to support multiple mobile phone numbers (see bug 118665. If/when that feature makes it into Tb (it looks like it might make tb3) then the addon will sync all Google (and Zimbra) phone numbers with Thunderbird.

  27. GN Says:

    Like I said earlier in the one mobile phone number field all 20 nos (or multiple nos) are shown by providing a comma between them. I am able to use it now by syncing my phone with TB through SW sync and it works with out any hiccups even in sync between google and my phone.


  28. Jonathan Wells Says:

    I also would like the feature Joseph suggested of syncing with the shared address book in google apps, I havent been able to find anything that does this yet.

  29. leni Says:

    @Joseph, @Jonathan - +1 noted!

  30. Torrey Says:

    I just have a quick maybe dumb question as I have looked and haven’t found anything. I am currently using thunderbird along with gmail and google sync for my blackberry. The problem I have is that if I add a contact via blackberry it syncs to my gmail but doesn’t sync with thunderbird. Now if I add a calendar there are no problems as everything works flawlessly. If I add a contact to thunderbird it syncs to google and then onto my blackberry. I use my blackberry majority of the time for adding contacts and calendars so any help to this would be greatly appreciated.


  31. leni Says:

    @Torrey, the zindus addon isn’t “push sync” so when you sync Google < ==> blackberry it doesn’t force a Google < ==> Thunderbird sync. Thunderbird < ==> Google sync is initiated by the addon - you can force it by clicking the “Sync Now” button, otherwise sync is initiated by the auto-sync timer.

    If you see a contact in Gmail and then click “Sync Now” in the addon it should appear in Thunderbird. If it doesn’t, check that the Google contact isn’t completely empty and that it’s not a suggested contact that you’ve asked to be ignored.

    If you still can’t work out why the Google contact isn’t syncing, feel free to file a bug report.

  32. Jerry Says:

    I’d love to see the one way sync with an option in the preferences to do this. Either google to TB or TB to google. This way I’d be less likely to delete all of my contacts.

    thanks, J

  33. Mark Says:

    When I create a contact in Google’s address book and then sync to Thunderbird, only the display name appears in Thunderbird, not the First Name, Last name fields, so that when I open my TBird address book, those names without First and Last Fields filled in appear at the very top of the list and show only phone numbers. I have to open them up in Thunderbird and add the information in the Last Name, First Name fields. Then when I resync, I end up with 2 entries in the Google address book, both looking identical.

    Is this by design or?


  34. Wayne Says:

    I want to add another vote for the ability to do a one-way sync. I’m shying away from this addon because although I don’t mind losing my TB contacts, I can’t afford the risk of losing my Google contacts.

  35. Grendel Says:

    What happens, if the addressbook in Thunderbird gets corrupted and Zindus syncs both adressbooks before it’s restored? In that case Google contacts, if intended to be used as a backup are deleted, too, correct? Is there any way to prevent the deletion of contacts in GMail?

  36. leni Says:

    @Wayne, @Jerry, +1 noted for one-way sync

    @Mark, Google doesn’t support first+last name, only display name. If you fill in first+last in the Thunderbird contact and then reset to force a slow sync, the slow sync should still pair up the TB and Google contacts, even though the TB contact has first+last filled in.. ie you shouldn’t get two contacts. If you do get two contacts, can you file a bug? I tried to reproduce this and couldn’t.

    @Grendel, to trigger a Google delete, it would have to be a very particular kind of TB addressbook corruption. eg appear to be ok but at the same time tell the addon that there were no contacts. Anything is possible of course, but other than your report there hasn’t been any other reports along this line. I’ll note +1 for you for one-way sync, which would allow you to say “never delete a contact at google”.

  37. Grendel Says:

    @Leni, when TB crashes and the adressbook is open, it creates a replacement automatically. The original adress book is renamed to *mab.bak. On the next program start, the adressbook is empty and appears to be ok. See

    One way sync is a possible solution, but even easier prevented by a manual user confirmation in case all contacts would get deleted.

  38. leni Says:

    @Grendel, thanks for pointing this out. Will file an enhancement request along the lines you suggest - requiring manual confirmation if all remote contacts are to be deleted. It will be in the next release.

  39. Jeff Says:


    If I change details in thunderbird it wont change in google??? Can anyone help? Thanks

  40. leni Says:

    @Jeff, if you change a contact in Thunderbird and want to see the results immediately in Google, visit Tools/Zindus then click ‘Sync Now’. Then click ‘reload’ in your browser to force it to refresh it’s cache from Google’s servers.

    Another thought: the addon doesn’t sync contacts that are in mailing lists.

  41. leni Says:

    @Grendel, your suggested feature will be in 0.8.11.

  42. DavidK Says:

    I currently have my contacts in my iPhone (synced with my Outlook) and also have imported them to Thunderbird. I don’t have anything in Google contacts yet. So, if I use this to get my contacts into Google, will I have problems with duplicates if I use something like Nuevasync to keep my Google calendar and contacts synced automatically, will I have a problem with duplicates? How about the other way around (if I get my contacts from my iPhone into Google some other way first, and then use Zindus) would I get duplicates?

  43. leni Says:

    @DavidK - in your particular situation where you’re migrating away from outlook to Thunderbird, you could:
    (1) start with no contacts in Google or iPhone
    (2) import Outlook contacts into Thunderbird
    (3) sync Thunderbird Google
    (4) sync Google iPhone

    Or you could go the other way around:
    (1) start with no contacts in Thunderbird or Google
    (2) sync iPhone Google
    (3) sync Thunderbird Google

    slow sync doesn’t generate duplicates *if the contacts are identical*. By starting with a clean slate, you avoid any risk that subtle differences crept in during your Outlook ==> Thunderbird and Outlook ==> iPhone ==> Google migrations.

  44. DavidK Says:

    I did the first one, but of course now I have no postal addresses in the iPhone because of the Zindus known limitation with syncing addresses between TB and Google. I guess I need to make sure NOT to sync TB and Google now, or I’ll lose all my address info (it’s still in Outlook; I better go right now and turn off Contacts sync in iTunes so I don’t really have a problem; though I did back them up from Outlook recently).

  45. leni Says:

    @DavidK, if you take the second route then you’ll be able to sync all three - but with postal addresses only in iPhone and Google. Postal address sync b/n Thunderbird and Google is on the roadmap.

  46. DavidK Says:

    Ugh, now you tell me to use the second one… :-) Yes, I saw that now that Google has the better API for the address it’s on the roadmap. Thanks.

    I guess I can start over; sync with Outllook contacts overriding the iPhone, clear TB (I need to go save a few new contacts first), sync iPhone to Google, sync TB to Google.

  47. Bennettjon Says:

    I am using Google Sync on the Blackberry and Zindus with Thunderbird to keep my contacts in Sync. However, when I delete contacts from the Blackberry or from Google Contacts, they are not deleted in Thunderbird, not does Zindus ask me if I want to delete them - which is typical functionality expected from other sync programs. What ends up happening is that if the contacts are not deleted from Thunderbird, they are added back to Google Contacts and then to the Blackberry mistakenly. Is this the way it is supposed to work? Meaning, Thunderbird controls it all?

  48. leni Says:

    @Bennettjon, would you be willing to run a test whereby you delete a contact on the BB, sync with Google, wait a minute or two then sync from TB, then email the logfile through (see reporting bugs). That’ll help to clarify whether a) it’s a server issue, ie: Google isn’t reporting the deletion to the addon, or b) whether something else is going on. Thanks!

  49. Alisonnic Says:

    Like Steve C., above, I use Thunderbird on several different computers to access my IMAP account. This account is on Gmail. I’d like to keep the email addresses in all instances of Tbird in sync.

    Unlike Steve, I don’t mind allowing my contact info to be shared between the Tbird instances and Google Contacts.

    Will Zindus allow me to keep my Tbird address books on multiple computers in sync, using Google Contacts as the synchronization point? Or must I run a Zimbra server, as you recommended to Steve?

  50. leni Says:

    @Alisonnic, you can use Google Contacts to keep the Address Books in several different Thunderbird instances in sync, with the caveat that only the fields common to Thunderbird and Google are synced.

  51. Alisonnic Says:

    Thanks, leni! This seems to be working. I’ve got Tbird on six(!) computers synced up now. Took some scouring to remove duplicates, and I had one glitch. On the second computer I didn’t remove all the addresses from my Tbird mailing lists before syncing. Then after I did remove them, I wound up with tons of duplicates. I made sure to remove alll addresses from lists before syncing on the other computers!

    Anyway, I’m delighted to have this capability. I hope you are able to add support for Tbird mailing lists at some point, and also I think one-way sync would be useful at times, but even with the current feature set this is a great add-on.


  52. Vladimir Kovar Says:

    This Plugin is great it works for me exactly what I needed. I would like to request if it is possible to have it not only sync contacts but but also groups with in the contact list. Thank you

    Vladimir Kovar

  53. Maggie Mayhem Says:

    Ok, I REALLY liked this add-on…for about 10 minutes.
    I use a google sync on my blackberry and a google contacts sync on my thunderbird…..and everything installed fine and seemed to be working fine.
    THEN, all of the sudden, out of nowhere, while I was out and about and nowhere near a computer, half of my blackberry contacts were missing.
    I started getting text messages, and there was no name attached to the number.
    So I searched through my contacts, and my contacts list on my blackberry and my google went from over 300, to 23.
    Now those contacts are gone.
    I read through ALL of the forums, and saw that there is some feature about “to be deleted” contacts, but I can’t find that anywhere.
    Honestly….I wish I hadn’t installed this.
    If anyone could tell me what the #@$% I’m supposed to do, it would be great.
    At this point, it’s as if I lost my phone.
    I have to start all over with years of collected contacts.

  54. leni Says:

    @maggiemayhem, if you email the logfile through it might shed some light on what happened.

  55. leni Says:

    @VladimirKovar - a feature to sync Google groups with Thunderbird is coming - likely this year (2009).

  56. Seth Says:

    I also would like the addon to sync one-way only, either server ==> Thunderbird or Thunderbird ==> server or both. Thanks.

  57. Mr Laptop Repair Says:

    Zindus is awesome. Got the sync love!
    Really is great to be able to see google address book AND make changes.

  58. Ian McEwan Says:

    I cannot get Zindus to login correctly. Addresses and passwords are correct. What are the proxies needed in Thunderbird?

    Message is http status code: 403


  59. leni Says:

    @Ian, 403 suggests you are getting a response from Google so it’s unlikely to be a proxy problem. Have a look in the logfile - the full http error response from google will be there which might contain a plain-text description of why you can’t login. That’d be an excellent clue. Feel free to email the logfile through by clicking on the ’support’ link too.

  60. GN Says:

    Hi Leni

    I had requested some time back in Feb for a multiple mobile nos sync feature, can you confirm if using TB3, this feature works.


  61. leni Says:

    @GN, not yet, it is dependent on support from tb3. To track progress, see this bug

  62. Mike Says:

    +1 for the one-way sync (especially gmail -> tb)! With all those android phones appearing and with the capability of gmail to store birthdays, contact photo and such, I am always afraid that sync might go wrong and me ending up with lost contacts…

  63. SirAry Says:

    I need this scenario:

    1. Managed to import the contacts from my phone (SEk750i) to a new TB instance and mooved all in Personal Address Book.
    2. Did sync with GMail and now I have those contacts in Gmail. The problem is that most of them don’t have email adresses, but only phone numbers …
    3. I want now, to sync with another TB where I have mostly email addresses but no numbers … and many contacts will be the same as in phone (as names) … Of course I will like the add-on to detect the differences and ask, and sync the fields …

    What will happen at sync? May I did this?

  64. leni Says:

    @SirAry, the first sync will be a slow sync.

    Have another look at step 2 or explore Google’s contact merge.

  65. Jaimon Jose Says:

    Works great. If only I had Zindus for Nokia N Series and Blackberry; one app to sync all my contacts with my all phones and mail apps. I don’t need to worry where I modify my contacts. Great work…

  66. thomas Says:


    very good tool. I have used it, before using *google apps team contacts*. I am wondering if you will develop a tool which is supporting the apps team contacts (which e.g. are allowing to create folders and so on).


  67. leni Says:

    @thomas - I am not familiar with the team edition. As best I know, Google has three APIs for contacts - do you know whether “team contacts” are exposed via one of those APIs?

  68. XTRAN guru Says:

    Hi, Leni, tnx for all the good work. I just downloaded/installed Zindus in my TB and synced with my Gmail account. But I have most of my contacts in another TB address book (NOT Personal Address Book), and there doesn’t seem to be any way to tell Zindus to sync that one unless it’s got a specific name Zindus requires. Is there a way around this, so I don’t have to meld my address books into Personal Address Book or maintain funny-looking names? Tnx.

  69. leni Says:

    @XTRAN - sorry, the addon doesn’t support arbitrary association of addressbooks with accounts - you’d have to rename your addressbook to correspond with the email address of the account.

  70. XTRAN guru Says:

    Hi, Leni. I moved all of my contacts into TB Personal Address Book, deleted all of my Gmail contacts for a fresh start, and asked Zindus to sync. I observed the following problems:

    o Zindus uses TB “Display” as Gmail name! So, e.g., all “Mr. xxx” come
    together. It should use TB “First” and “Last”, offering the user a
    choice of “Last, First” (dft) or “First Last” in Gmail. Otherwise,
    the TB “Display” becomes totally useless, because it messes up Gmail
    when Zindus adds a new TB contact to Gmail.

    o Zindus puts solo TB “Email” into Gmail “home” email address; it should be
    Gmail “work” email address by default, or ask the user which should be
    the Gmail default. It looks like if TB has both “Email” and “Additional
    Email”, Zindus puts them into Gmail “work” and “home” emails
    respectively, which makes sense.

    o Zindus picks up TB “Screen Name”, but it assigns it to AIM by default in
    Gmail. Maybe ask user which IM service should be the default in Gmail?

    o Zindus ignores TB “Home” and “Work” addresses!

    o Zindus ignores TB “Web Page”.

    Am I missing something? If these can’t be fixed, I’ll have to find another way to sync.

    (BTW, TB is my canonical address book, so I too would REALLY like a one-way
    sync, from TB to Gmail.)


  71. XTRAN guru Says:

    OK, now I’ve read the blogs on what syncs and what doesn’t. May I suggest a TB -> Gmail (ONLY) sync option that synthesizes the Gmail fields from the TB fields? That way, if I change only my TB Personal Address Book, I can use Zindus to keep Gmail (and therefore my Android phone) up to date. Such an option could ask the user for:

    o TB “First” and “Last -> Gmail name: “Last, First” or “First Last”?

    o TB “Email” to Gmail email: What email type for Gmail? (Work, home, etc.)

    o TB “Screen Name” -> Gmail: What IM vendor? (Skype, AIM, etc.)

    (Also, why isn’t Zindus syncing TB “Web Page” with Gmail?)

    Such an option would leverage all of the work you’ve done on Zindus to add functionality that some (including me) would really value, and it shouldn’t take much additional work to add to Zindus.

    In terms of syncing field changes, the option could synthesize the Gmail fields from each TB contact, check the Gmail contact for the synthesis, and update to it if different or missing in Gmail.

    My 2c worth… Thanks again for the hard work.

  72. leni Says:

    @Rory - good questions! Answers follow:

    First, some context. The addon versions 0.8.12 - 0.8.14 use Google Contacts API v2, 0.8.15 (and the current testing release) use Google API v3.

    o The “natural” analog of tb:DisplayName is gd:fullName.

    o Currently tb:FirstName and tb:LastName aren’t synced. But 0.8.16 will sync tb:FirstName with gd:givenName and gd:LastName with gd:familyName. Here’s the v3 API reference.

    o Zindus puts solo TB “Email” into Gmail “home” email address - good point. I’ll file a feature request to make this changable via a preference.

    o tb:ScreenName is AIM - so it maps to AIM at Google. When tb supports other IM protocols they’ll map as appropriate. There’s a bug filed under Tb bugzilla to support non-AIM protocols - if you search buzilla you’ll find it.

    o for the latest status update on postal address read the last few comments here .

    o the current testing release sync Home and Work Web URLs - Google introduced support for this in v3.

    o will note a +1 for one-way sync

  73. Graham Says:

    I just want to file a +2billion for one-way sync.

    I installed it a while ago and I’m thinking about uninstalling it now that it’s synced once as it’s really not very smart in terms of merged contacts.

    If my TB contact list has 2 people, A and B, and 2 email addresses, and Gmail has B and C with 2 other email addresses, after the merge I have A, B, B (again) and C… it should prompt for whether to merge or how to handle 2 contacts with the same name.

    maybe the strategy I should use is to sync, merge, and then delete all the contacts on one side and have it sync again…

    or will that propagate deletions? Does zindus ever delete contacts?

  74. leni Says:

    @Graham - here are the rules around slow sync.

    Generally, it’s just the first sync that’s a slow sync. Subsequent syncs are fast syncs in which an add/modify/delete on one side is propagated to the other side.

    Will note a +1 for one-way sync - +2billiion is off the scale :-)

  75. Keverdy13 Says:

    It would be really great if we were able to synchronize our mailing lists on thunderbird with our groups on gmail. who is with me?!

  76. Damon Says:

    I’m new to Zindus, just came back to Thunderbird 3 after 2 years of frustration with Evolution.

    I just want to add my +1 for one-way sync. For me, everything syncs through my gmail account (to other computers, to my blackberry, etc.). My experience with new syncs hasn’t been great, so I’d love just to say “GMail–>Thunderbird” ONLY. Fewer headaches and worries!

  77. leni Says:

    @Damon, +1 for one-way sync noted.

  78. Allie Says:

    I have used Thunderbird and Zindus together with my google contacts for over 2 years now and love them all. Zindus makes it work well with my personal desktop email system. However, when Thunderbird upgraded to 3 I started having problems with Zindus. I keep getting an error that says: “[JavaScript Application]: Sync Failed: Unauthorized.”

    I am looking through the site but I’m not seeing anything that seems to sort this problem. Am I missing it or is there something I need to change? Up until the Thunderbird upgrade I had never had this problem, so I’m pretty sure it’s not sign in info issues causing this. And zindus has worked smoothly with my google accounts before as well. I am left assuming that it’s a thunderbird/zindus issue. Is that likely the case?

    ~ Allie

  79. leni Says:

    @Allie - I wonder whether sometimes you login using your Google Apps email address and sometimes via address. It’s possible for you to authenticate correctly using one email address but still not be able to modify contacts if the contacts are owned by the other. Try both … which should resolve the problem, but if not, feel free to file a bug report.

  80. Andrew Laden Says:

    Please add another +1 for the 1 way sync. I just completely screwed up my google address book when I realized that I didnt have zindus on one of my thunderbird installs, and when I installed it, it took a whole bunch of contacts and duplicated them. And since I sync google contacts to my iphone, it screwed up my iphone contacts as well.

    I would love a default of google -> thunderbird, with the option of being able to pick a contact to sync up to gmail. Or a fully interactive sync mode where it asks what you want to do for each change.

  81. Allie Says:

    Thanks Leni! Your new explanation [found here: fixed the problem like a charm.

    Report those bugs people! They got mine taken care of same day :D Great Job!

  82. Sven Says:

    I would like to suggest (as several people above) to support Zimbra contact group synchronisation. In my 60+ employees company we could really use this.

  83. Zindus » Blog Archive » Synchronizing Google Contacts gets better with API v2 Says:

    [...] allows the zindus addon to establish sync with Google immediately.  The dialog that enforced Google’s no-duplicate rule remains only to fix empty contacts.    Contact [...]

  84. Tom Brown Says:

    I maintain 2 gmail accounts: and .

    Both accounts have many contacts, corresponding to Google Groups in gmail. When I first sync with zindus, the web contacts in my 2 gmail accounts match the zindus contacts in Thunderbird, building lists in Thunderbird with the zindus/ prefix.

    But then, without syncing, sometimes my web-based contact group get emptied or only have one or two of what had been 20 or so contacts in them. When I try to then sync with my Personal Address Book using zyndus, the Thunderbird lists also get emptied, instead of populating the web contacts.

    Even more frustrating, most of my sub-divided and categorized group contacts in my account get deleted from that contact list but show up in my “All contacts” list in the other account contact list on the web, and the same happens with my web contacts being transferred to my web contacts.

    I think a one-way sync would solve this problem. When might that happen?

    Also, how can i keep from losing all of my contacts when i sync with zindus? I’ve tried deleting all of the zindus/ prefix lists in Thunderbird and then rebuilding them by a slow sync with the web. this works but then it all gets screwed up again.

    i have been accepting automatic zindus updates. Might this be part of the problem?

    Inquiring minds want to know….

  85. Tom Brown Says:

    Anybody have any thoughts on my previous post of July 8th?

  86. mikeE Says:

    how often does it poll and sync? every 5min? immediately? seems to me like I have to go into tools>zindus>sync now to force a sync.

  87. admin Says:

    @mikeE, to see or change the defaults, see:

    @TomBrown - sorry for the long delay in response! It sounds like there might be a few different things going on there - would you consider filing a bug report. Also, make sure you’re on the latest version - Tools/Addons/Find Updates.

  88. Mark Says:

    @leni - Above you mentioned:

    o Currently tb:FirstName and tb:LastName aren’t synced. But 0.8.16 will sync tb:FirstName with gd:givenName and gd:LastName with gd:familyName. Here’s the v3 API reference.

    Did this happen? If so, it doesn’t seem to be working for me.

  89. leni Says:

    @mark, no it didn’t happen. A little while after Google announced their familyName < ==> givenName+lastName feature they let on that it wasn’t actually implemented.

    A few weeks back Google announced that first+last name were operational, so it’s now back on the roadmap for the addon.

    For the addon, the next big feature is photo sync. first+last name will be after that.

  90. brainbug00 Says:

    would be great if your addon support google first and last name ;)
    i will use sync thunderbird google HTC (when my phone arrives) :)

    why Zindus sync messenger-name with AIM .. why not some other?

    sorry for my bad english.

  91. leni Says:

    @brainbug00 - first+last name is the next feature on the after photo sync. Shouldn’t be too far away.

    Thunderbird “Screen Name” actually means “AIM Screen Name” - which is why other IM handles don’t/shouldn’t appear there.

  92. brainbug00 Says:

    nice that foto-sync now works…
    next will be first and last name? that would be great ;-)

  93. Quena Says:

    +1 One-way sync request

  94. XTRAN guru Says:

    Leni — I don’t understand why selectable one-way sync seems to languish somewhere down your list, despite enormous demand. It seems to me that it would expand the usefulness of your add-on tremendously. I maintain Tbird as my canonical address book, and I want to sync Google with it. I do NOT want my Google address book to affect my Tbird address book in any way. Until one-way sync arrives, I can’t use your add-on safely. I suspect there are many others who also have a canonical version of their address book, be it Outlook, Tbird, or Google, and just want to keep other address books in sync with it. To be safe, that requires one-way sync.
    My 2c, FWIW…

  95. Scott Says:

    A vote for one-way sync

    Please, please, please!?

    A vote for one-way sync

  96. Ron Wolf Says:

    one way sync - me too.

    and what about support for multiple address books? if not from Zindus, does any tool support this?

    thx for what you do?

  97. Stephen F. Heffner Says:

    “Basketball” — go peddle your drugstore “philosophy” somewhere else. We don’t want it here.

  98. Mark Says:

    Tks chaps for this - a leap ahead of Google Contacts sync for me.

    But I couldn’t get auto sync to work - or rather - no matter how long I left it, it never autosynced. Manual sync was perfect. Ubuntu 11.10/TBird 8.0. So, as an admin post above directed, I went edit/prefs/advanced/config editor and looked for:

    * extensions.zindus.system.as_timer_delay_on_start
    the number of seconds after startup
    * extensions.zindus.system.as_timer_delay_on_repeat
    the number of seconds after the first auto-sync

    The first one was set to 3600 (that’s 1 hr), the 2nd to 43200 (12hrs). That strikes me as a tad glacial - advanced users will know to do it manually, but ‘normal’ users (e.g. my missus …for whom all things must be automagical) would just erm…start shouting: “it doesn’t work etc etc”.

    12hrs??? That’s effectively next day. I changed the settings to be 60 and 600 seconds. However, I get nervous when I do this, since I assume some thinking went into those defaults. Can someone enlighten me? I’m on a home network with 4 users, abt 3000 ttl contacts. Network traffic is therefore not an issue.


  99. David Says:

    Would love one-way sync option.

  100. leni Says:

    @mark, there’s no genius or deep thinking around the defaults for as_timer_delay_on_start and as_timer_delay_on_repeat. “twice a day” seems to work fine for most people but feel free to change them to smaller numbers as you see fit. 600 seconds == ‘every 10 minutes’.

    To help you understand the tradeoffs - the issue is that the vast vast majority of thunderbird addons are single threaded, including the zindus addon. Which means that when sync runs it’s competing for resources with someone using the UI. The addon breaks sync up into lots of small pieces to allow plenty of opportunity for someone to keep working in Thunderbird while sync is running. But it’s not perfect (and can’t be while single threaded), so if your wife complains “hey, this sync thing is distracting me while I’m trying to read/send email” then you might want to bump up as_timer_delay_on_repeat to make it less intrusive.

  101. Mark Says:

    @Leni, ah yes indeed. Understood completely, thanks. I’ll trial and error it to get the best settings. I think I’ll run it up to ‘very often’ as she sets up, then sneakily lower the frequency later on.

    I can but dream of such politeness and understanding!


  102. Mike Marion Says:

    YUCK! - constant unresponsive script errors!
    Not sure if it works but sure it isn’t worth the trouble

  103. Mike Marion Says:

    Yuck - constant unresponsive script errors - now this comment editor errors!

  104. H vM Says:

    It seems this add-on is my dream-come-true!

    However, I am using my Google account as the main contact list and wish to sync my Google contacts to Thunderbird, installed on both my laptop and my desktop at work. But the add-on does not seem to support Google groups, which, in effect, means I cannot create and sync contact lists and organise and categorise my contacts.
    I almost lost (thanks google for the undo option) a number of contacts since I manually created contact list in Thunderbird, synced, and noticed that these contacts were erased from my Google account, although they remained in Thunderbird (both in the ‘personal address book, and in the list I copied them to).

    Concrete I have two questions:
    - is there a one-way-sync option. Google –> Thunderbird only. This so changes in Thunderbird do not effect my google contacts?
    - can Google groups be synced in Thunderbird as contact lists? I like organisation, lists and categories.

    Thanks for answering!
    H vM

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